Wind power critics will line up Wednesday in support of state Sen. Bill Seitz’s bill to scale back parts of Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards.
In fact, nine experts assembled by the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition are expected to take things a step farther by recommending even more expansive amendments be made to Seitz’s Senate Bill 58 to protect Ohio consumers from rising energy costs. That includes examining the constitutional aspects of the 2008 state law that created renewable energy mandates and the law’s impact on energy markets, environment, Ohio’s economic competitiveness, and health and welfare of those living near industrial wind farms, said Kevon Martis, founding director of the Michigan-based renewable energy watchdog group.
The coalition, which includes Ohioans affected by wind development, is bringing in experts from business, academia and advocacy organizations to testify before the Senate Public Utility Committee. Seitz, a Republican from Cincinnati, is committee chairman.
A Seitz aide told me at least 14 people have signed up to testify on S.B. 58 on Wednesday afternoon. Final amendments to the bill are expected to be due Friday, and the bill could be sent by the committee to the full Senate before Thanksgiving.
While Seitz has not proposed eliminating the renewable energy standards, he wants to make changes he says are needed to protect electricity customers from sharp spikes in their bills. State law requires 25 percent of the electricity sold by each power company in Ohio be generated from alternative energy sources by 2025 with at least 12.5 percent from renewables. In addition, half of the renewable energy must be produced in Ohio.
Seitz is pushing to end the in-state requirement, and wind farm foe Julie Johnson from the Urbana told me she would like to see lawmakers go farther and repeal the renewable mandate. She is a member of Union Neighbors United, a grassroots group opposed to a wind farm being developed in Champaign County by EverPower Wind Holdings Inc. The group is affiliated with the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition.
Johnson said only about 10 percent of Ohio is suitable for commercial wind farms, prompting developers to place them in populated areas and too close to homes. The result, Johnson said, is such projects hurt property values, are a nuisance because of noise and flickering light from wind turbine blades and drive up electric bills.
“Wind in Ohio is lousy,” she said. “(Our experts) will talk about its true cost and how it is an expensive source of power.”
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